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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July, 2005, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
G8 protest accused set for court
Police and protesters clash in the centre of Edinburgh
A man is held by police during the clashes
Police say 100 people are expected to appear in court after being arrested during clashes in Edinburgh sparked by a protest against the G8 summit.

Demonstrators fought running battles with 1,000 police in the centre of the city, which was brought to a standstill for six hours.

The police have been accused of using "heavy-handed" tactics but insist their response was "proportionate".

More than 20 protesters and police officers were injured.

Police have warned that they are ready to deal with any trouble arising from the court appearances.

Lothian and Borders chief superintendent Charles Michie told BBC Scotland: "We will again respond robustly. We will just not tolerate any kind of interference with the judicial system, the judicial process.

"That's not acceptable in a democratic country."

Three courts have been dedicated to those arrested on Monday. Cases will be put through individually with the most serious charges being dealt with first.

There is evidence of weapons being brought into the city
Tom Halpin
Assistant chief constable

A report on the alternative media website Indymedia accused the police of antagonising protesters and said there had been "no 'riots' in Edinburgh this afternoon".

Assistant chief constable Tom Halpin said a small group had been determined to cause "as much disruption as possible".

"Weapons including stones, staves and other light missiles which have been thrown at police officers," he said.

"There is evidence of weapons being brought into the city, into the city centre by protesters, despite their apparent outward display of good humour."

The demonstration was billed as the Carnival For Full Enjoyment.

At 1245 BST, the main body of protesters was hemmed in at Canning Street in the west of Edinburgh, with no access into side streets.

More protesters tried to join the march at the Shandwick Place end and were pushed back. One managed to climb halfway up a building with a black flag.

There was a report a group entered the Caledonian Exchange building, which houses offices of the financial services company Standard Life. The company said they did not get into their premises.

A further stand-off took place on Princes Street itself, where dozens of police vans containing riot police were stationed.

Police in full riot gear then set up lines, including a 40-strong wall of officers outside the National Galleries of Scotland.

Cages thrown

Eyewitness Michael Findlay, 27, said he saw about 30 protesters picking up wheeled supermarket cages and throwing them at two rows of police in riot gear in Rose Street.

The police line stood firm while behind them about 15 to 20 mounted police looked on. The Edinburgh resident said bottles were thrown and the situation appeared volatile.

He said: "The protesters definitely started it, they started throwing things at police."

Police and protesters

Mr Halpin called police action during the day "robust and proportionate". He said: "The so-called carnival has been staged without discussion and clearly those involved are determined to cause as much disruption as possible.

"This is not about protest. This is unacceptable and irresponsible behaviour".

Scottish Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said some areas of Edinburgh city centre had faced significant disruption.

Ms Jamieson said: "It is sad and disappointing that a hard core of protesters are more interested in protest for protest's sake and not in joining the rest of the country in focussing on the real issues of poverty and climate change."

Mass blockade

Two Green Members of the Scottish Parliament who were caught up in the protest criticised police for antagonising the crowd.

Mark Ballard and Shiona Baird found themselves surrounded on three sides by police in Hanover Street shortly before 1800 BST.

Mr Ballard said: "Police were rushing into the crowd and antagonising them. It was the most surreal and bizarre policing I have ever seen.

They started shaking the taxi and trying to tip it over, I was angry but also really frightened
George Kennedy
Taxi driver

"Police seemed to be inflaming the situation by letting innocent bystanders wander into the areas of trouble, then not let them exit."

The MSPs had returned from a mass blockade at the Faslane naval base in Argyll and Bute.

The MoD site is home to the UK's Trident nuclear submarine fleet and has been the focus of protests for many years.

Ms Baird said: "Faslane today was a textbook peaceful protest and to come across this in Edinburgh was very disappointing."

Police contingents from the Merseyside, South Yorkshire, West Midlands and Lancashire forces took part on Monday.

See the scuffles between police and protesters

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